Safety News You Can Use- Respiratory Protection – The Medical Evaluation

Much has been said about respiratory protection however, very little is discussed in regard to the medical requirements associated with the donning of respiratory protective equipment including face masks. Here is a synopsis of those medical requirements.

OSHA standard 29CFR 1910.134 outlines the requirements concerning the selection and use of respirators.  When effective engineering controls are not technically feasible or while such controls are being instituted, approved respiratory equipment will be provided as necessary to protect the health of your employees.

Your company shall provide a medical evaluation to determine the employee’s ability to use a respirator before the        employee is fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace.  Th company may discontinue an employee’s medical evaluations when the employee is no longer required to use the respirator.

Your company shall identify a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) to perform medical evaluations, using a medical questionnaire or an initial medical examination that obtains the same information as the medical questionnaire

Your company shall ensure that a follow-up          medical examination is provided, for an employee whose results of the medical questionnaire or initial medical examination demonstrates the need for a follow-up medical examination.

The follow-up medical examination shall include any medical tests, consultations, or diagnostic procedures that the PLHCP deems necessary to make a final determination.

The medical questionnaire and examinations shall be administered confidentially during the employee’s normal working hours or at a time and place convenient to the employee.  The medical questionnaire shall be administered in a manner that ensures that the employee understands its content.

Your company shall provide the employee with an opportunity to discuss the questionnaire & examination results with the PLHCP

The following information must be provided to the PLHCP before the PLHCP makes a recommendation concerning an employee’s ability to use a respirator.

  • The type & weight of the respirator to be used by the employee.
  • The expected physical work effort.
  • Additional protective clothing & equipment to be worn.
  • Temperature & humidity extremes that may be encountered.
  • The company shall provide the PLHCP with a copy of the company’s written respiratory protection program & a copy of the medical evaluation section from OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.134.

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